November 11, 2011

A Beaded Wedding Dress

Here's a vintage dress I worked on for my friend's Etsy shop, Basya Berkman Vintage Fashions -

This beautiful, 1940s beaded wedding dress is in nearly perfect condition, save for some snags in the net yoke.  Rather than try to remove beads, replace the net, and re-bead, we decided that I should try adding new beads to cover the snags.  The rolled edge neckline was a bit tattered as well, and I decided to roll it once again.

First, I added a lining of tulle to support the old netting.   Here is the inside of the back yoke, with the tulle pinned in place, and basting begun.

Next, I stitched under the raw edges, so as not to poke the bride.  At the shoulder seams, I made a seam, and then folded the seam allowances and stitched, to enclose the raw edges.  And then along the neck edge, I rolled the old and new nettings together a couple of times until the tattered bits were enclosed.

Finding beads took a while.  The woman at Tom Thumb (my great craft store) was very helpful and pulled out every white seed bead they had.  I think there were about 4 or 5, and the variation in "white" was striking, with one being the clear winner.

I couldn't match the champagne rice beads, but there was a rice bead that matched the color of the satin quite nicely, and a tiny tear drop pearl that matched the original rice bead color.  I decided to add some of the new beads to the satin below the yoke as well as on the netting, so the overall effect would be more consistent.  Here are a few shots of my experiments with the designs I would add.

When I came to the actual sewing, I discovered quite quickly that I had nothing to mark the placement of the beads that would both draw on the netting and not potentially leave a mark on the dress.  So I basted the stem lines, and added the blossoms by eye.

I remembered way, way back to an early beading experience with a wonderful woman named Lynne, who taught me Native American style beadwork.  I used that technique - or my foggy memory of it! - to bead the stems.
 thread on 4 beads....

stitch down into fabric after the fourth bead to place the beads...

come back up between the 2nd and 3rd beads...

put the needle through the 3rd and 4th beads...

thread on four more beads and repeat...

Here is the final look, with three new stems and some new flowers.  You can also catch a glimpse of the re-rolled neckline.

 And finally, I decided to add a few more flower buds to the front.

And......  here's the completed dress.... for a vintage-loving bride.  I love the scalloped piping at the hip that echoes the waistline and bodice edge.  Also, the bust darts aren't the usual triangle-shaped tuck.  They are constructed like an inverted pleat.  

1 comment:

  1. Ann, I'm surfing your blog, and am ever more impressed with your skills!!!